Saturday, May 12, 2007

I've been remiss in failing to mention James Lilek's dismissal. I know little to none of the story, and don't really find it necessary to research it. Suffice to say that he's a tremendous talent and I look forward to reading more of his stuff. I never did read his column, concentrating on his Bleat (maybe the best original-thought blog out there), and so I'll likely not miss much.

I'll not insult him with any of the typical platitudes. He's a far more successful writer than am I, and my words of encouragement really wouldn't mean much.

Update: Here's his farewell column. Again, much good stuff to be found at his Web site, so it's not as if he's going away.
Digg Report: Speaking of Digg, today's #1 Digg, at 3864 Diggs, is a post about a college student who scored a perfect failing grade on a True/False test. The professor's (admittedly valid) response is also posted. Relevance, please?

I may need to revise my position on Digg. It may not only be dominated by Leftists, but it may also be a relatively pure indication of what happens when collectivism replaces the individual in the arena of ideas.
This is a good story, as far as it goes, in the Los Angeles Times on how the mainstream media is altering its news coverage to meet the edicts of Internet popularity. I would take it a step further: social networking sites, Digg, and other Internet phenomena represent a sort of mob rule mentality, where mere popularity is equated with importance, relevance, and truth. The fact that the mainstream media is following along shoud be surprising to noone.

Another example of this is Twitter, where one judges oneself based on how many "friends" are watching the most often boring and trivial aspects of one's life. It doesn't matter who those friends are, or how inane the messages might be; just the fact that hundreds or thousands of people are listening is the exclusive measure. I struggle (but not really) to understand how someone can measure oneself based on such an anti-value.
I think I believe in much of what this story says about open source. It's written in that MTV style that tends not to focus on one thing for too long (defined as long enough for one to think about), but it seems to make some sense. At least, I agree with the very ending, which talks about open source developers tearing apart the very industry that pays for their living and allows them to write software "for free."

I don't find it to be a very "cynical" position, however, at least in the sense that "cynic" is used as a pejorative term. To me, it just makes some good sense.
I find this story about global warming to be interesting, although it also tends to confirm that climate is no longer a science. At least, it's not one that the layman can research, analyze, and draw conclusions from with any clarity. There's just too much there to muddle through, in even a single article.

How can someone come to a rational conclusion when so much is so unclear? Theories that contradict each other, computer simulations that are no longer valid but still referenced as definitive, constantly shifting positions held by proponents of one side or another... They all conspire to make the entire issue unintelligible.

And yet, the economies (and thus standards of living) of the world (or at least, the Western world) are held hostage to it all. One would think that all of the uncertainty would count for something.
Celebrity Report: For my inaugural Celebrity Report, which highlights a rational celebrity who doesn't spend his time bashing the United States, I start with the grandaddy: Bruce Willis. Here, he can be found taking part in a chat (intelligently, I think) on his movies and such. Nothing political here (except a very brief allusion to loving one's country, which for some is probably "political"), and that's the point of this segment.

Celebrities are not necessarily particularly intelligent or well-informed (although many of them are). They have no special knowledge by virtue of being famous, nor from being influential because of their celebrity status. In short, they're not really doctors, although they may play one on TV.

Most celebrities don't understand this. Bruce Willis strikes me as one who does.